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EU commissioner warns of jihadist influx if Iraq retakes Mosul

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 12:43

Berlin: The EU`s security commissioner warned Tuesday that Europe must be prepared for a new influx of Islamic State jihadists if Iraqi forces retake the group`s stronghold of Mosul.

"The retaking of the IS` northern Iraq stronghold, Mosul, may lead to the return to Europe of violent IS-fighters," Julian King told Die Welt daily in remarks published in German.

He said even a handful of jihadists returning would pose a "serious threat that we must prepare ourselves for".

Iraqi forces are advancing in an offensive aimed at retaking Mosul and dealing a death blow to the IS group`s "caliphate" in the city where it was declared two years ago.

Some 30,000 federal forces are leading the offensive, backed by air and ground support from a 60-nation US-led coalition, in what is expected to be a long and difficult assault on IS`s last major Iraqi stronghold.

The jihadists have suffered a string of territorial defeats this year in both countries, and the retaking of Mosul would all but end their presence in Iraq as a land-holding force.

First Published: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 12:43
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